Jeter Downs has the opportunity to prove his worth with the Red Sox
In February of last year, the Boston Red Sox shipped off superstar and fan-favorite Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a massive three-way trade. The Sox received three players in return and the package was highlighted by outfielder Alex Verdugo. However, we cannot forget arguably the most valuable piece they received. That being the top prospect in the organization in shortstop Jeter Downs.
At 22 years of age, Downs is already in his third MLB organization and looks to prove his worth to Boston that he can be a future asset to their roster. While it is concerning that he continues to be shipped from organization to organization, he remains listed as the top prospect for a reason.
Masslive’s Chris Cotillo reports that Downs was among the prospects to receive an invitation to the 75-man Spring Training roster.
Downs was a part of the Red Sox Spring roster last season but only appeared in 11 games before it abruptly ended due to Covid-19. In a small sample size with 17 plate appearances, he batted just .176 knocking in a lone run and walking four times. Despite having the inability to play ball last year, Downs is destined to build on an already solid track record in the minor leagues. He supports a career .267 BA, 43 home runs, and 162 runs batted in between the A and AA levels.
Boston will get to see Downs as a more mature player entering 2021. He does not have a standout tool at the plate but has the potential to be an above-average hitter with added power. He was will have to continue to work on his plate presence by seeing more pitches and extending the count.
His defensive game is his strength and will become more versatile to get on the big league club with Xander Bogaerts owning the reigns at shortstop. His defense should be enough to get him noticed but it is a necessity to become a more productive hitter. Often times with shortstop prospects that are above-average defenders, it takes them time to become an all-around player. He is still extremely young and only time will tell if he has what it takes to become a starter at the major-league level.
A prospect from the 2011 draft class had a similar issue of being a great fielder but was not so much a polished hitter. That was a player by the name of Francisco Lindor. By no means is this a comparison but Lindor struggled at the plate at a young age before entering the bigs. He hit just 16 homers in his four seasons in the minors before being called up. It took him time to find his identity at the plate and by the time he was with the Indians he surprised with how impressive his hitting skills were. The jump to the majors only improved his power as he is now looked at as one of or if not the best shortstop in the league posting three 30 plus home run campaigns.
Downs will continue to develop into a productive all-around player as the Red Sox have invested a lot in him. It will be exciting not only for the organization but the fan base as well to see what type of player he can become during the 2021 Spring Training.